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opposition earlier, will he tell the house whether he will personally benefit from the millionaires' tax cut to be introduced this april? >> i will pay all the taxes that are due in the proper way. the point i would make is that all the years in which the honorable gentleman sat on this side of the house, there was a top rate of tax that was lower than the one we are putting in place. i did not hear any groaning from the honorable gentleman then. >> a typical council tax payer in my aberconwy constituency will now pay £124 more than they did in 2010 because the money made available to the labour welsh government has been used to fund their pet project to secure their majority in the assembly. does the prime minister share my concern that hard-working families in wales are being used in order to fund the labour party's pork-barrel policy in cardiff bay?
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>> my honorable friend makes a very good point. this government have made available money for a council tax freeze. that has the consequence that money for that freeze is available in wales, so people in wales will know who to blame if their council tax is not frozen. it is the labour assembly government in wales: they are to blame; they are the ones who are charging hard-working people more for their council tax. >> we all remember the prime minister's promise last october that he would legislate to force energy companies to put customers on the lowest tariff. will he explain why his energy bill contains no such commitment and why he has broken that promise? >> i have to tell the honorable gentleman that he is completely wrong. the energy bill does exactly what i said in the house; it is about legislating to force companies to give people the lowest tariff. >> oh, no.
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>> order. it is very discourteous of the house to issue a collective groan-notably on the opposition benches. it is quite inexplicable. i have called the good doctor; let us hear from the good doctor. >> schools in cambridgeshire were underfunded for decades by both the last labour government and the one before that, and the latest figure shows that they receive £600 per pupil per year less than the english average-the worst funding in the entire country. does the prime minister agree that that is simply unfair? will he support the cambridge news "fair deal for our schools" campaign, and pledge to end the discrepancy during the current parliament? >> i will consider carefully what my honorable friend has said, but i will say to him now that we have protected the schools budget so that per- pupil funding is the same
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throughout this parliament, and head teachers can plan on that basis. by encouraging academy schools and free schools, we are ensuring that more of the education money goes directly to them. >> the institute for fiscal affairs described the chancellor's tax changes and benefit cuts as giving with one hand and taking away with many others. does the prime minister think that that is fair on hard- working families, when at the same time he is giving to millionaires with both hands? >> i do not agree that that is what the ifs said. as i said when i quoted the ifs last week, it has pointed out that the highest increase in tax payments has come from the better off, and the changes that the government have made are particularly helping hard- working people on the minimum wage who will see their income tax bills cut in half. that is what this government are doing, and we will not forget the abolition of the 10p tax rate that clobbered every
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hard-working person in the country. >> i know that the prime minister is aware of the watford community exchange, which will take place on friday. it will involve a meeting between 50 businesses and 50 charities and community organisations. i hope that the prime minister will congratulate chris luff of freedom communications, which has already offered 150 hours of its time to help local charities, including westfield community centre. i also hope that the prime minister will encourage all his colleagues, including ministers, to initiate similar proceedings in their constituencies, because this is the big society in action. >> my honorable friend is absolutely right. a very large part of the big society is businesses coming together to help voluntary groups and charities in local communities. i think it is excellent that my honorable friend is doing that
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good work in his constituency, and i pay tribute to all who are joining him. as i said earlier, it is good news that volunteering is up, charitable giving is up, and the big society is getting bigger. >> is the prime minister still eating processed beef? >> i am following very carefully what the food standards agency says, and what the food standards agency says is that there is nothing unsafe on our shelves. >> procedures at the northern lincolnshire and goole hospitals nhs foundation trust are being reviewed because of the high mortality rate, which is obviously of considerable concern to my constituents. will the prime minister assure them that whatever recommendations result from the review will be implemented in full? >> i can certainly give that assurance. it is important that we get to the bottom of any hospital having an unnaturally high mortality rate. it is also important that such
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inspections and investigations are carried out properly, and that we all learn the lessons of the mid staffordshire inquiry report. >> you have been watching prime minister's questions. question time airis on c-span2 on wednesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern and the house is in session. next week, the british house of commons will be in recess. prime minister's questions returns on wednesday, february 27. watch any time ad or you can find videos of past prime ministers questions. next, a senate hearing with u.s. central command nominee general lloyd austin. then the state of the indian nation speech by the president of the national congress of american indians.
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and a senate hearing on the implementation of the dodd-frank regulations for financial institutions. >> what worries me is that i do not want to be sitting in the same place i was a couple of years ago, going to the government and saying, this -- i want to see spectrum management that is much more market-driven. things like incentive options oakley will continue to work. the commission given flexibility to existing licensees. the secondary market working in a smoother way than it does now. >> you look at the growth rate in data usage from subscribers, we're seeing anywhere from 30%- 50% on an annual basis. there is no slowing down. there is this insatiable hunger for capacity, faster speeds, and they have a long feature in
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being able to provide that service. onmore from this year's ces monday night on the communicators at 8 pm eastern on cspan 2. >> general lloyd austin has been nominated to lead the u.s. central command in the middle east and afghanistan. he testified before the senate arms committee on thursday. general austen was joined by the nominee for u.s. africa command, general david rodriguez, a top commander in afghanistan from 2007-2011. this is two hours. le conversations]
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>> good morning everybody and welcome. this morning the committee considers the nominations of two very distinguished officers to two of the most active and challenging combatant commands. general lloyd austin united stes army nominated to be commander u.s. central command and general david rodriguez u.s. army to be nominated to be commander of the u.s. afri command. these two combatant commands centcom and africom are the centers of gravity for our military's operations to counter the threat of terrorism. oath nominees have served our country with distinction and i want to thank each of you for your decades of military service and your willingness to serve once again.
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i understand that general austin 's wife charlene and general rodriguez' wife jen air with us this morning and i want to a knowledge them and thank them for their sacrifices, their support to our nominees throughout the years which is so essential to the success of our nominees and as is the committee's tradition are nominees are invited to introduce any family members or friends who may be with them this morning with their opening remarks. if confirmed general austin will assume command of centcom during it critical transition. not for military operations in afghanistan. in the coming months afghan forces will assume the lead responsibility for providing security throughout their country, the coalition forces stepping back though a support role. on tuesday, president obama announced during his state of
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the union address plans for drawing down half of the 66,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan this year, a 34,000 troop reduction by february of 2014. the president continues to consid options for a significantly reduced us. military presencin afghanistan after the end of 2014, which will depend on many things but in part on negotiations with the government of afghanistan over legal protections for our troops. the president has made clear that then missions of residual u.s. presence in afghanistan after 2014 will be limited to current terrorism operations and training and advising afghan forces. general austin would bring exceptional experience in overseeing this transition, having commanded u.s. forces in iraq during the reduction of u.s. forces and equipment from
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iraq. just this ast weekend our forces in afghanistan have had a change of command, with general joseph duckworth replacing general john allen as commander of the international securities systems forces and commander of u.s. forces afghanistan. i want to take this opportunity to thank general allen for his thoughtful and devoted leadership in afghanistan, for his forthrightness and his interactions with me and the rest of the members of this committee. when senatoreid and i visited afghanistan in january, we saw a real signs of progress, including the afghan security forces increasingly taking the lead responsibility for protecting their country. good news stories about afghanistan and the afghan security forces don't seem to get the coverage of the u.s. media that is given to negative stories. for example, it was widely reported that only one of the 23
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afghan brigades is rated by isaf is independent. on the other hand we heard from our commanders in afghanistan that 87% of operations in afghanistan's critical regional command east are carried out solely by afghan security forces. another success story is now the 18,000 strong afghan local police program. these community defense forces when coordinated with district level national police and afghan army forces are more and more effective in powering afghan communities to defend against taliban intimidation and violence. plans are being developed to increase the authorized size of the alp program from 30,000 to 45,000. the next centcom cmander will
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also play an important role in shaping our enduring partnership with afghanistan after 2014. the partnership that i fully support. ike m. concerned however by the plants to reduce the afghan national security forces by a third starting in 2015. 352,000 to 230,000 by 2017. i believe that any future reductions in the size of the afghan forces should be based on security conditions in afghanistan at that time and this afghan security forces make and providing for their country security, we should reassure them that we will continue to support these efforts by deciding that as we withdraw our forces that the won't get drawdo and afghan forces. progress in afghanistan remains fragile and significant challenges to afghanistan's
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long-term stability remain. among the greatest threat to its stability are the safe havens for afghan insurgents across the pakistan border. the government of pakistan has failed to disrupt or eliinate. in addition the major shortcomings of the government of afghanistan in delivering governance, fighting corruption creates political and economic instability that could exacerbate the challenges in the 2014 transition. in addition to afghanistan sense, as can -- contend with when the most difficult issues in our security debate, the threat posed by iran in pursuit of its nuclear program. as the centcom commander general austin will be at the tip of the spear with regard to preparing militarily for the detention of an armed conflict with iran. he shares the presence view that all options must be some
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remaining on the table. including its relentless pursuit of its stability fomenting the violence through proxies such as hamas and hezbollah and through its own covert activities in the region. already destabilizing events in syria, yemen gaza egypt and sudan are made worse by iraq spending and supply of terrorist organizations seekg to undermine governments to spark further conflict among sectarian and tribal groups. centcom has a critical role to play in leading efforts across the region to counter iran's aligned influence. events in syria continued to deteriorate. the impact of the assad regime's increasing dependence on support from iran and desperate actions to hold onto power can be seen in the thousands of refugees that flow into the towns and villages that syria's neighbors. while the united states is
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focused on providing humanitarian relief and nonlethal assistance to the syrian opposition, the centcom commander will be asked to advise on the situation to syria including whether to provide legal assistance to the opposition, with eight the united states should conduct limited strikes against k syrian military capabilities and whether the united states should seek to build a coalition of nations to take re significant military action. these are extraordinarily complex issues that general austin will be asked to share his views on today. centcom's area of responsibility remains a central location of many of the nonstate terrorist threats to our nation faces. in addition to core al qaeda in pakistan and the reemergence of al qaeda in iraq, al qaeda and the arabian peninsula remains focused on attacking united states and our interests. our centcom forces continue to assist our yemeni security partners in preventing al qaeda
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from taking advantage of areas in yemen where the government has limited control. the offense and ghazi -- benghazi were powerful reminder of our need and public expectations for a capable -- capabilities to respond quickly to crises around the world. this is one of the major evolving situations that general rodriquez has to address and it will consume a great deal of his time. it is far from limited to benghazi and libya. we have struggled in africa to find a foothold to allow for the responses to the type of events that occurred in benghazi and will allow us to conduct day to day operations lech intelligence collection. africom has received less in the way of resources and support and other geographic commands and
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this disparity indeed may grow in a resource constrained environment. these challenges combined with these destabilizing effects of terrorist and critical networks will make general rodriquez' task at africom among the most complicated in the department. an additional matter in the africom aor is committee watches osely is the ongoing u.s. support operationsin central africa to assist the multinational effort to remove joseph kony and his top lieutenants from the battlefield. this committee and general inhofe has been very active in this effort and assad to ensure that this mission is adequately resourced including additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. general rodriquez i know you are familiar with this mission and the committee looks forward to hearing from you about it and to working with you on it and so many of the other challenges he will be facing.
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i'm going to turn the gavel over to senator kaine who has agreed to take over because i must go to the floor and i i will call upon the senator inhofe. >> thank you mr. mr. mr. chair i join you in weoming our witness. i've had an opportunity to get to know them in the past personally and i'm very anxious to mo vaughn with this and i think -- thanks charlene and jenny for being here. you are the ones who work harder than they do so we appreciate your sacrifices if they are concerned. general austin will be in charge of overseeing arguably the most volatile region in the world and in the midst of the declining defense budget. just last week secretary panetta announced the indefinite array of a a deployment in the middle east in development that was a darkly welcomed by the regime in tehran and egypt despite all the best hopes of the arab spring
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president morsi and the muslim brotherhood government has shown hostility toward the opposition groups and have taken an increasing bellicose tone towards our ally in israel. these developments require us to think long and hard as we will be sharing with them the controversial f-16 transfers and ankly i didn't agree with that but it's a tough area and i think if you look through that area general austin you have iran and it maintains a determined to acquire nuclear weapons capability. it's been going on for a long time and we found our intelligence -- about the capability but they have developed so far. it's serious. and iraq are premature withdrawal has contribud to to
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a deteriorating situation and allowed al qaeda to establish a foothold in syria and assad's rain and brutality is claiming e lives of over 60,000 syrians and risks spilling into neighboring countries. in pakistan was a nuclear-armed government teeter i'm on collapse or a militant groups such as all the military groups that have enjoyed the safe haven and afghanistan men -- combat responsibilities to the afghan security forces. without a doubt we have got to make sure that the core structure and mission is driven by the facts on the ground and not arbitrary. we talked about this in my office. general rodriquez, hugh and i have spoken about the middle east and i have often said it is kind of the neglected continent and instrumental that we establish africom so there were
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no longer three different commands but one unified command it's a tough area and it's a tough area that has never had adequate resources to carry out what i consider adequately carrying out the mission and ceainly the chairman mentioned the problem with the lra and that is a problem and is one that is not confined to as few. this charge in northern uganda has spread through the ca are in south sudan i might add that it's connected. it's all terrorists and it's all connected to yemen and it is a serious problem that we are going to have to deal with. it's the smallest of the regionally focused combat nd command with less than 5000 boots on the continent and that's a huge continent so your work is cut out for you. we have talked about that, you and i in my office in detail so
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the challenge is to both face are very down -- n daunting but i am sure the both of your app to the task. it's going to be heavy lifting. as i said to you general austin my office, are you sure you want to do this and you said yes. thank you mr. chairman. >> general austin and general rodriquez we are ready to har your opening statements and testimony and we appreciate you being here and your seice and we will begin wi general austin with general roiquez to follow. >> good morning says. ranking member in half, distinguished members of the committee, i want to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today and i also wa to thank you for the steadfast and strong support that yu have shown and continued to show to our men and men in uniform are army civilians and their families. it is remarkable all that they have accomplished over the past nearly 12 years of war and it was made possible in no small part through your personal
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efforts and those of your colleagues. so my thanks to all of you. i would like to take a moment to introduce my wife, charlene. i've been incredibly fortunate to have her as my partner for more than 30 years and she representshe many wonderful spouses who are the true unsung heroes of these conflicts. these conflicts. the supporters back home and in doing so enable our success. i think steve charlene for your love and support and your sacrifices and happy valentine's day. [laughter] i'm glad to date today to be joined by my teammate general rodriquez. he too is accompanied by his bride jenny who like charlene has done a tremendous amount for our soldiers and families over the years. david nice served a number of times over the years to include combat. he is a gifted leader that the great soldier and i'm pleased he has been nominated to command u.s. africa command.
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ladies and genemen it has been a tremendous privilege fore to serve my country in uniform for nearly four decades. i'm grateful to be able to continue to serve. i am honored, humbled to have been nominated by the president to serve as the commander of u.s. central command and if confirmed i've pledged that i will apply all of my experiences, judgment to the best of my abilities to help preserve and advance our nation's interest in that region of the world. general mattis has led central command master really over these two nephews. the impact of his leadership and the efforts of this team during this period of an tremendous if confirmed i intend to sustain and continue this important work the reality is that while much progress has been made in the centcom area of responsibility, quit there is still a great deal more to be done. our national interest and those of our allies and friends command vigilance as well as our
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continued commitment to do our part to help address the many challenges that exist to achieve and maintain security and stability throughout the middle east and south and central asia. course our foremost priority remains the ongoing mission in afghanistan. soon we will be required to complete the transfer of responsibilities to the afghans and also transition our people and equipment out of the country just as we did in 2010 and 2011 when i served thee just as we did in iraq in 2010 and 2011 when i served as the commander of u.s. forces iraq. this represents a herculean undertaking and if confirmed i will do everything within my power to help set the broader nditions for success in this most important endeavor. meanwhile, one must simply watch the evening news understands that the world we live in remains complex and extremely volatile. much of the instability and associated challenges remain in
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the centcom area and what we have to be pragmatic we must always be prepared to respond to contingencies whenever and wherever they occur around the world. if we truly want to have an effective and lasting impact in the region, our friends and allies must be assured of our support and our potential adversaries must understand that there will be consequences for their actions. as this past decade of conflict has clearly demonstrated, success, success and our many endeavors would require effective application of the full continuum of our nations instruments of power and influence. the military as well as economic and diplomatic and having worked closely with senior military and civilian officials in the various u.s. agencies and organizations, and also having worked closely with leaders from other countries and partn nations while serving in iraq as the commander of forces, i can personally attest to the effectiveness of these kinds of
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collaborations and if confirmed i will continue to cultivate my existing relationships while pursuing additional opportunities and partnerships that will surely prove beneficial. senator kaine, senator inofe these are historic in difficult times. the many challenges that exist provide opportunities and certainly a shared desire people to seek peace and harmony and prosperity and even in those places that have never before experienced. i fully appreciate the work ahead will be great and the road will not be easy but if confirmed i've pledged to give all that i have towards ensuring our success and the success of our allies and friends around around the world and those most worthy endeavor. thank you again for this opportunity and for your steadfast support for the servicemen and women and their families and i look forwa to your questions. >> think you general austin. general rodriquez.
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>> senator kaine, senator inofe and distinctive members of the senate armed services committee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i am honored the president has nominated me to serve as the next commander of u.s. africa and if confirmed i look forward to working closely with this committee as well as our joint interagency intergovernmental and multinational partners to address the challenges we face and the opportunities to increase stability on the strategically important continent. strong partnerships are the key to gaining and maintaining stability in the 54 nations of africa. how would also like to thank this committee for the sustained support it has provided to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guard's men and the department of defense civilians and their families during this time of conflict. they selflessly serve their nation at home and abroad are often in harm's way ultimately to assume their share of the risk and we are eternal he
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grateful for the support of the american people and congress. i would acknowledacknowled ge the tremendous efrts of general ham and his team at the united states africa command, his leadership helped sustain strong partnership are biting the foundation for continued engagement acrosshe continent and globally. he has done a superb job and i hope if confirmed i can expand on the work that he has done. to general laid off an exceptional leader and a good friend, we have served together throughout peace and war in our careers and a significant number of deploymentsetween us and i'm honored to share this experience with lloyd and charlene and i'm certain if confirmed floyd will ctinue his remarkable service to the nation nation and our servicemembers. i also want to thank my wife jenny for decades of servi as an army wife and who has cared for a month after soldiers with empathy and understanding. she is also a wonderful mother to our children any a student at north -- melissa schoolteacher
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in north carolina and david the works with the department of the navy in washington d.c. and andrew a lieutenant in the army. i think the committee again for allowing me to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you general rodriquez. here is the procedure we will follow. i have a set of standard questions that we ask all witnesses that will ask both ofou to respond to and we will then proceed to rounds of questions alternating between representatives of the two parties and the rounds of questionswill be seven minutes long, and then if there are additional questions in in the second round that members want to ask we will proceed in that way. let me begin with the standard questions we have the witnesses and these will hlp us exercise legislative and oversight responsibilities. do you would hear to applicable laws and regulations governing complex of interest? do you agree when asked to give your personal views even if those views differ from the administration in power?
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>> i do. have you assumed any duties are undeaken any actions which wod appear to presume the outcome of this confirmation process? will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record in the hearings? >> i will. >> we have cooperated providing witnesses and briefers to respond to congressional requests? will those witnesses be protected from reprisals from their testimony in any such breathing? >> they will. >> you agree or confirmed to appear and testifyy request before this committee? >> i do. >> you agree to provide documents including electronic commications in a timely and/or when requested by a duly constituted committee or a consulting committee regarding the basis for any good-faith denial in providing such documents? >> i do. >> with that we will move to the questions and i will begin with senator donnelly.
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>> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank you a general austin and general rodriquez for your service to the nation and to your families for everything you have done. you may want to take them for valentine's y lunch to the senate cafeteria. and then you may not. [laughter] general austin, as we heard the president say the other night, he is looking to withdraw 34,000 troops from afghanistan, and my question is, can that be done in a way that does not leave afghanistan less stable? >> thankou, sir. whereas i was not a part of the process that helped to generate the proposals or the numbers of troops that we have drawn down and the rate at which they should be drawn down, i can tell
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you that from having been a part of that process before, the types of things that commanders consider going into those recommendations really account for whether or not they can accomplish the assigned objections and missions. i would assume that general allen and general mattis as they went through that process provided their best military advice and i would assume that to be the case that having not been a part of that i cannot speculate as to whether or not not -- >> how quickly we become a partner and taking a look at that in that determination? >> if confirmed served i will get into that right away and confer with general dunford and the chairman and make sure that i have full understanding of the
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objectives, the missions and te resources that have been provided to accomplish those objectives. >> and you will give us your unvarnished opinion as to the plan, how it works and whether it will meet your strategic objectives as you look at the situation that we are i? >> i will, sir and the objectives that are outlined by the senioreadership that have been had been provided to us. >> thank you. generarodriquez, as we look it your mission, one of the things that strikes strikes me is then of course in centcom too at how important it's going to be to build up our partners there so that they can be self-sustaining in protecting their own nation. how critical a focus is that going to be for you as you move into this position? >> thank you senator. that is a critical focus because obviously the objective is to have africans of -- supply
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security and stability for for themselves. there are a wide range of tools to do that in that will be a main focus. >> it seems that that could be the key to success there is being in a position where the training that we provide enables them to stand up on their own. general austin, as we look at the region that you will be commanding, one of the challenges has eyes been pakistan and our working relationship with pakistan. as we go through the withdrawal of troops to afghanistan both the men and women and equipment, do we have, and again you mentioned that you had not been fully involved in that plan but i would think one of the things you would want to do is continue to work closely with pakistan on that plan but also have alternative options if tere are bumps in the road as we proceed forward with borders.
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are you going to be looking at that as part of what you look at when you get the plan in your hands? >> absoluty, sir. i think our relationship with pakistan is critical. it is a key country in the region, and my goal would need to immediately work to continue to build upon the existing relationship which is on somewhat of a positive slope right now, a positive path and i want to continue to build on that. again they will be key throughout and into the future. >> general rodriquez, as we look at your region, we just saw an extraordinarily tragic situation in benghazi and when we look at the country there and we look at the challenges that those nations already have in protecting themselves, and we
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often depend on nation security for ouown consulates and embassies as well, as you look at that, will you be making for lack of a better way to t it, a study of how fast do we get to the consulate in where's the closest location to that consulates so that we have -- that you have a plan that can make sure if our consulates are in danger, we will be there to protect them. >> senator if confirmed i will do a thorough study of time distance as well as capability spread throughout the region so we can respond in a timely manner and make sure the department of state is in forms that together we can make good decisions on the african continent. >> general austin as we transition from afghanistan the military gains and security that
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we have achieved, with all your experience in iraq with the transition there, think one of the biggest challenges is as the military leaves how do we make sure that sum up big gains in not just military but in state auctions in afghanistan that we are able to hold onto them? what experiences that you took away from iraq can help with that in afghanistan as we move forward? >> certainly sir i think our embassy will remain engaged and continue to work with the afghan leadership to help them build capacity and work with issues on our political system but i think having competent security force helps to create the time and space for an amateur political system too much or and we would hope that you know, we
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would have the opportunity for that to develop. the afghans would make the rght choice is going into the future and certainly having advisers around to help advise the litary also helps to influence the rest of the environment as well. so i think the activities between the embassy, staff and what our military is able to do in keeping the afghan security forces focused, think that creates the time and space for the political system to mature. >> general rodriquez and general austin thank you so much for your service. you and your families have dedicated your life to our country and we are incredibly grateful to you. >> ranking member senator inofe. >> thank y mr. chairman. i've been agree with the remarks by the senator, your service in the time and the fact that i had
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the opportunity to be with you in the field at various times. let's see, i guess general rodriquez we spent some new year's eve together over there and we got to know each other pretty well. anyway in your opening statements you had somserious problems that you are facing over there. let's just start off on africom because that is something i'm perhaps a little more familiar with. we all go through this and you guys are not immune from it. you're trying to get to places and you have 54countries and over 12 million square miles to adequately support africom and i'm going to ask you a question in minutes about the resources. in terms of time and distance, have you thought about how you are going to handle that? if you have a crisis in sub-saharan africa you will have a hard time getting ther and what you think about that? >> yes sir i think that will
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require the solid coordination of agency partner so we can best understand the indication of warnings so we can best posture rselves to be able to respond appropriately but as you know because of the time in the distance and the challenges that we have it will continue to be a challenge so if confirmed i will look at that very carefully ad the requirements to the leadership and ensure that everybody understands the risks involved. >> is something you have no control over and that is where it is right now. frankly when we starteafter, i was pushing very hard for it ethiopia or someplace for headquarters in africa. as you know the problem there is the reputation of our involvement in africa is misinterpreted as colonialism type of an approach and i have to say this. every president that i have talked to including in tanzania,
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they all said we recognize it would be easier but theris no way we can sell it to the people. the reason i bring this up, there is always a lot of people here in the united states and members in our good friends in the senate ho are likely to move the headquarters stateside and i think the best thing we can do right now, and i think you would agree, that it would be very difficult to move the headquarters. what do you think about -- to you and i talked about this. have you had time to look and see in terms of resources? as said my opening statement we have 5000 boots on the ground. that is not much. do you have any comments going in right now as to how you are being resource particularly at a time with a drawdown we are talking about at the current time? >> senator thank you.
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as you know the challenges across the depth and breadth of africa that we are facing with the resources constraints that we are all living under will be a challenge in the end we just have to make the greatest assessments of where we are going to accept risks to ensure everybody knows and understands that and then the coordination between the interagency departments will be critical as we move forward. we all as commanders have to help our leadership assessed the risk throughout the cocom's and if confirmed i will execute that to the best of my ability. >> we have a lot of things that the chairman in his opening remarks talk about, the pla and joseph kony. my question is, if we are successful in ourperation and helping them take out joseph kony, would you continue there are in recognizing that coney
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and the lr a. is part the terrorist group that goes far beyond originally in uganda and spread to south sudan and into the eastern. it is widespread and it is a serious problem. i would like to get your commitment to stay involved in that and recognized it for the problem that it is. >> yes sir and if confirmed i will continue to watch connie and the lra and the entire negative impt it has on the region as a whole. >> there are so many areas that people are not aware of right now. one of the things i would like and we made a good decision after 9/11 when we decided as a policy for this country that we would recognize africa and as the squeeze takes place in the middle east in the terrorism goes down through djibouti and the horn of africa that our idea was to put an five african brigades to help hem, not us,
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but to help train the africans who are very receptive to do the id so that when that happened down there we wouldn't have to use ours. that is kind of floundering and i would like to ask you to make those five african brigades a top priority during the time that you a spending down their >> we will do it senator. >> general austin, as i told you earlier i asked do you want this job? i would like to ask you in whatever time it takes to kind of look at the sequestration and how that is going to affect you in that critical region, and the outlined area by area and my opening statement. >> yes, sir. i believe e sequestration will have enormously negative effects on our services ability to resource our efforts and what
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will happen is that we are all committed to and all the services are committed to support the current -- which is what we should be doing but over time the follow on and the deployers will be less rea, and so our ability to respond to emerging contingencies in the region will have less of an ability to do that and we will have less flexibility and zero options because of the pressure and now with pressure on the budget. >> you mentioned for areas and you call them for principle levers the last time you were here before this committee. they were mil-to-mil and engament plans and operations and security cooperation programs and posture. of those four what will be impacted the most by sequestration?
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>> certainly our presence and our posture in the region will be impacted and we are seeing that, the leading edge of that with the delay of the deployment again that begins to take ay some of the flexibility and the options available. >> thank you very much. >> as a scheduled accommodation i am switching my times five to senator nelson and his questions will be next. >> thank you mr. chairman. in the delay of the deployment of that carrier which otherwise would go to the persian gulf region, -- >> that would be a part of its responsibilies as it completes its tour, yes sir. >> well, i asked that question because of course one of the continuing high-visibility questions is what is going to
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happen in iran, and if iran were to continue with the development of a nuclear weapon, we would need all the military assets that we could muster and the general has just pointed out that sequesters going to keep that carrier in poland, which is not a good thing. if we ever got into it in iran or if iran ever started their own aggressive actions by mining the strait of hormuz, we would need all of our navy assets that we could bring to bear. that is a there are statements is in the general? >> yes sir and general mattis has laid out what its requirements are, and so those
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requirements have been vetted and have been approved and again if he doesn't get the full complement then he will have to do some things to mitigate that. >> general, what do you see will be the remaining force when we are withdrawing and 2014 from afghanistan? >> sir, i believe that those decisions are still being made by the leadership with the input of general dunford and general mattis, and i don't know -- i'm not a part of that process and i don't know what the objectives are that the leadership want to accomplish and that really drives what the force structure should look like going forward so having been a commander in the fie where i
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was working hard with the leadership to define options, i found it very unhelpful when somebody who wasn't a part of the process speculated on what the troop strength should . >> in your experience, you have worked with the indigenous forces in the leadership of a country like afghanistan. can you give us your observations of the progress of that society over the course of the last few years and their ability to basically what i'm getting at is, have the afghani people regressed to the point that it's going to be very hard for the taliban to take over, once we leave and take them back
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to that feudal society that they were? what is your observation? speedster, my observation, first of all i think to the key elements or three key elements to kind of go into this equation as to whether or not things will remain on track or notour number one do we have a credible security force to help guard against the challenges that will no doubt come in the future? we have worked hard with the afghans to build a security force of 352,000 in a relatively short period of time and it's still growing and still evolving incapability. the second thing is i think the political policy needs to mature and the people have to begin to have faith and the leadership and the leadership has to be inclusive and has to reach out to people and they have got to
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provide a good governing mechanism for the country, and that is critical. i think the security forces can provide the space for that to devep. it's going to take some time and the third piece of this is the corruption that has you know, that we have seen in the country over time. we really have to get control over that and begin to move that in the right direction. and i think when those things happen and certainly they are capable of happening, i think thin will continue to move in the right direction. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator main. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the witnesses and their wonderful wives for their service to o country. we are very proud to have you certainly in such positions of responsibility. general austin and general
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rodriguez, general rodriguez he recently served in afghanistan as a commander of the international joint command with isaf and i will ask you both the same question. the president has announced 34,000 troops more than half of our force will return home by the end of the year. was this recommendation via the chairman of the joint chiefs? was this a recommendation by the military? >> senor, i don't know what the specific recommendation was. as i understand it -- >> no one has told you or general rodriguez? >> no sir i was not a part of that process. studies so you are excluded from knowing the recommendations of the military? given the new responsibilities you have? >> i was not included in that process. >> did either of you recommend this option?
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>> no sir. >> in your best professional military advice, is the withdrawal of 34,000 troops this year in line with the conditions on the ground as you saw? >> sir, i differ to the current commander. >> you really have no opinion whatsoever about whether we should withdraw 34,000, half are forced by the end of the year? is that correct? >> having not been a part of the process, i don't think that i should offer an opinion on this because i don't know everything that went into their calculation >> general roderic is do you feel the same way? >> yes sir. >> even though you recently served their? >>es, sir. i've been gone for 18 months and things have changed tremendously. i can tell you that i was a part of the change in the strategy
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when we put the surge forward their and the concept of what we were looking to do strategically is continuing but his farce the specific situation, the country that warrants those decisions i am not currt in that area serve. >> so, you wouldn't have any guess as to how many forces you believe are necessary to achieve our goals? general austin you were a commander in iraq. do you think iraq is more stable today than it was a year ago? >> sir i'm certainly troubled by some of the things -- the. >> you believe iraq today is more stable than it was a year ago? >> i think the stability is
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fragile and it is trending towards being more problematic as we watch what is happening with the current arab relationships and with the recent sunni protest and i think a lot of that is brought on by failure to solve some political issues. >> so, when we had a residual foe there or not wouldn't matter? >> i think certainly if we could ha continued to advise-and-assist the iraqis i think certainly it would have made them -- to continue to make them better. >> and you are prese in the room when senator graham and i asked you after maliki asked us, what level of troops would we in the united states want to remain there in order to maintain that
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stability and do you remember your answer? you said, we are still working on it. remember that? >> yes sir. >> how long d they work on a general austin? >> sir i think we worked with the iraq leadership alawi up and to the point of time when they decided that theyweren't going to be able to give us e protections we needed. >> because of course it was down to 3500. is that correct? >> no decision had been made at that point and time served. >> wasn't our number back to 3500 troops left behind? isn't that an accurate statement? it is written in michael gordon's book and its knowledge, is that? you were there. >> i presented a range of options. >> don't you know that the administration's pition was that down to 3500? they didn't tell you that?
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>> soraya was nowhere for the number was and i don't recall specifically what the final option was being considered. >> you really don't remember specifically that it wasn't 3500? >> sir, in that range of opons, again since we never close -- >> the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff testified that the number was down to 3500. general dempsey did before this committee and you didn't know that even though you wre their? >> sir i didn't know what the number was. >> was 3500. >> it was a small number, yes sir. >> which is why it has been well-documented te iraqis decided to try to obtain immunity of over 3500 troops wasn't worth the effort. so do you believe iraq is headed
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in a positive or negative direction? >> sir again some of the things we we are seeing in iraq is very troubling with the air of guards tensions and the sun protest. on the other hand -- >> the anti-over -- antiaircraft for bashar assad and the total estrangement between barzani and maliki, continued violence in kirkuk and other areas along the border, the vice president of iraq having to flee the country because there are murder charges brought against him? does that indicate to you that iraq is headed in the right direction? >> it does not serve. certainly there are some things that are very troubling. there are also some things that i think indicate that if they make the right decisions, they have a chance to move in the right direction. there are 3.3 million barrels of
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oil a day. they have been challenged severatimes in terms of security, but the security forces have really held and they are still loyal to the civilian leadership. and so there are a couple things in their that do idicate that they begin to make the right decision politically that i think they have a chance to move in the right direction but at this point they have not made those decisions and it is troubling. >> will general, your predecessor general mattis had a well-deserved reputation as speaking truth to power and testifying before this committee and a frank and honest opinion. we have our responsibilities and our responsibilities can only be carried out if we have frank and honest, as you were just asked if you wou do at the beginning of the hearing, opinions and i'm disappointed by your testimony today that i have to draw these racks out when you and i both
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know they are facts so i hope the next time you're before this committee will be more forthcoming in your answers. we deserve it. we have our responsibilities as well as those that you will assume. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you mr. chairman and i want to join in thanking both of you for your extraordinarily distinguished careers and your families for their service and sacrifice as well and wish you well in your new command in the ne chapter of your military career. general austin we have a very informative and important discussion yesterday on the sexual assault with a number of my colleagues in the number of viewers and i would like to ask you and general rodriquez for your commitment that you will pursuend vigously and aggressively the predatory crime and the fishes event of sexual
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assault and rape wherever it occurs under your command. >> sir you have my commitment that i will do so. >> i will, sir. >> thank you. let me asked by the way have each of you seen the documentary movie coax. >> i have seen at sir. >> i've seen at sir. >> will you make it your policy and practice that movie among other training aids received by all of the commanders? >> yes sir and as you may no sir in know sir in the army we have encouraged our leadership to use that as a trning tool. >> i would like to ask you for more than just encouragement but to actually make it a matter of your general order or however you want to implement its within ur command that it be used as a training device. yes, sir. it is required.
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>> thank you. let me ask you general austin focusing on afghanistan. i recently had the privilege of traveling to afghanistan with the number of my colleagues including senator mccain who led the trip and senator graham, senator ayotte and others and i want to focus for the moment on contracting their. we understand from the special investigator in afghanistan that 43 contractors in effect are doing business with the afghanis but they have not been processed by the army for debarment. partly because leal obstacles and others now and allow the united states, section 841 in particular, i would like your
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personal commitment is centcom leader that you will personally review these cases and use the authority you have to stop u.s. taxpayer money from being funneled to the taliban and that you will help us senator ayotte and i in particular work on this ise and help us to strengthen the law. >> sir you have got my commitment. >> thank you. very aptly you are -- your per pair testimony mentions the importance of unity of effort. that's your phrase and i think it's a good one on the battlefield and it's equally importt at that unity of effort in stopping american taxpayer money from aiding the enemy in afghanistan where corruption has been unfortunately so rampant. one of the areas where i think it can be applied more effectively is in usaid and state department aide and i
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would like to have your commitment that he will help us in fact a improve it along that regard. >> thank you. i interest and you have made it as part of your commitment. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. let me ask you now general austin about syria. as part of that trip we visited the refugee camp in northern jordan adds safari and i must say very powerful and moving experience to see the conditions of the camp and the numbers of children, the challenges in providing education and helping to make it sanitary condition and i would like your commitment that you will do everything possible to provide a drastic and dramatic increase in humanitarian aid to the refugees in syria and elsewhere also in
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jordan where there are those refugee camps. .. but also, their commitment to aid in military assistance, the freedom fighters, in syria. let me ask you. do you not think the united states can provide more training and technical assistance, in
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terms of communications, logistics? >> sir, not being in the seat yet, my vantage point is that of many people on the outside looking in. i do not know the specifics, as many specifics as i would like to know about the opposition and what is in the realm of possibility. what i would like to do, if confirmed, i would like to have the ability to go in and assessed and see what is possible, and if there are things that are possible, what options do we have, and so, i do not feel as if i can give you a very concrete and informed recommendation at this point. >> i hope you will share the sense of urgency that many of us feel about the situation and
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about the very dire predicament many of those courageous fighters who are opposing the murders and the barbaric regime that the assad government, if it is still a government, has become. we would appreciate your recommendation as soon as possible because we appreciate the sense of urgency, and more can be done to deprive assad of his superiority, where he has it in the air, and his forces on the ground that he is using, very simply, to slaughter the citizens of his own country. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. and thank you, mr. chair. my time has expired, but thanks to each of you for your service in the past in the future, and,
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again, to your families. >> thank you, senator. senator ayotte? >> thank you. i want to thank you and your families for your extraordinary service to our country. i very much appreciate your being here. i went to follow up on what was discussed. as you recall, senator brown and i had worked on this no contract provision which has given some authority to dod to cut off the funds, and i want to just join in what was said in that i look forward to working with him and look forward to your commitment to make sure you can give us all of the tools, including extending those to the state department to cut off funds that go to our enemies, so i appreciate your commitment on that, and i look forward to working with the senator and both of you to make sure that happens. general, when the senator asked you, you had said you had been
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through the process before of deciding what a follow on for as should be, and that was in the context of commanding in iraq. is that correct? >> that is right. >> and when you were the commander in iraq, what was your recommendation on the troop levels that should remain, assuming we could negotiate a status of forces agreement? leadership. i provided that recommendation and i've never made public what my recommendations were. >> i provided back to the president confidence and have not made that public it would not like to make the public. >> let me ask you this, general, therecommendations he provided in the number ended up with
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senator mccain just has to come up with that number significantly below what you recommended? >> u.s., ma'am. >> thank you. >> u.s.a. to senator mccain did not disappoint not been involved in the decisions on the trooper struck by the follow-on force r 2014, as i write? have you spoken to general alan r. dunford about this topic? about what the recommendations are? >> no, i have not. the president announced the other day there was a port in the "washington post" that general dunford who i'm sure you have great respect for her as well as general alan, that they have been seeking a reduction no more than 25,000 troops during that same period and that would have been significantly and certainly the president's recommendation is much higher, what is the price you? have you followed any of the
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public reporting on this? >> i have read some of what is and the media, but my experience it doesn't have the complete -- >> well, let me follow. military officials on background seen pulling out 34,000 weeks is dangerously low on military personnel when the fledgling afghan army and police sport is going to send a clear signal to afghanistan is going wobbly. i am surprised i saw that she is not had conversations given your taking over on sand, general allen or general dunford at this important point, but i would ask you, if we are in a position where the withdrawal process in a situation where we are going to have dangerous low on
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military personnel, would expect you to come forward to this committee when asked and tell us your professional opinion as to what we should be doing. we do that? >> i will do that, man. as you know, there's a number of things the commander considers as he makes his recommendation, the tasks he's presented with any sky to accomplish his assessment of the environment to skype to work and come any significant transitions, things like an election, the fading sees any sky to go through and all of that goes into his calculus to provide a range of tions in terms of recommendations they are. i say leadership looks at it, i just don't have any idea of what exactly went into that specifi
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calculus. >> general austin, i went to a deployment on sundaynew hampshire a guard unit going to khost province in afghanistan and one of the worries i have is the numbers being floated by the administration,don't like it to a point where if we don't have sufficient numbers there, we have to worry about protection of our forces? >> yes, ma'am. that is one of the things commanders not taken to consideration whether they'll be ableto provide for their troops as they conduct operations in the area. depending on what the specific mission sire, they'll be asked to do and how much of it they'll be asked to do, when you factor in force protection and other thgs, that really these with the commander thinks his requirements other. and again, typically he will
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present a range of options. >> well, i understand, this certainly we need to take into account iraq troops they are any forget to remember that is so low that we can protect our own troops, i'm going to be very concerned about that. i will expect you are provision. so if one understands, why does it matter? by the sacred afghanistan matter? >> it's clearly important to the region, important to the united states of america. we like to see this country continue to move forward. would like to see the political system began to grow. i think it's the right things happen, it will certainly help us with the relationship with
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pakistan and some other things. it is important for the region. it's also clearly important for the country of afghanistan and nato and the united states of america. >> general rodrigues, i would like your opinion to why this matters in detection of our country, our interests and we sacrifice so much there and obviously it is important we understand why does the stable afghanistan, the outcome matter? >> a stable afghanistan means that is one of the things that was the objective that never became a haven for al qaeda so it could attack those u.s. homeland come to u.s. interests and allies worldwide. >> thank you. i'll have follow up questions for both of you. >> thank you, senator. senator reid. >> thank you for your service to the army and the nation and i
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can't think of to our dedicated and experienced is you've been assigned. but the third idea come your major general in afghanistan attempt not to vision. you were thr-star in iraq and the multinational forces. you are maybe one of the few going where you've commanded every officer level, is that correct? >> that's correct. i do think we could find a new and better acclimated to the challenges and there are quite a few throughout the region. one of the issues touched upon is iraq. are the problems they are more political in nature or more in military capacity? what we've seen is a chaotic put up a situation demonstrations,
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sectarian tensions, that the iraqi security forces perform reasonably well given the trading and investment we've made. is that a fair assessment? >> from my perspective that's a fair ssessment. security forces have done reasonably well. >> and going forward, the challenges seem to be more political in any type of military threat from the outside or an uncontrollable threat comments at a fair assessment, to? >> yes, sir. >> one of the key fact or zen roles he plays not jt making sure they're well prepared, well organized and well deloyed, it communicating explicitly and implicitly leaders of different countries and i can think of several. one is pakistan and one is egypt because of our relationship to
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the military's. do you haveany perspective now with respect to your likely engagement with general kai ani and pakistan and the egyptian army? >> yes, sir. i look forward to developing a good working relationship with general kai yanni and the leadership, military leadership in pakistan. it is essential to our overall relationship and they will be hopeful and i strained to move to move forward with what we are doing in afghanistan. egypt as you know, we have long enjoyed a great melt snow relationship has been helpful to us. and so, we'll continue to build upon that going into the uture. >> let me ask you another question and that is with
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respect to our forces in afghanistan. i space chief of the current role, it would be highly unusual you would be participating in deliberations of strategy going forward in afghastan or any other area of operation. is that fair to say? >> is fair to say. >> the planning was done appropriately for central command, beginning with general allen and secretary of defense saw secretary of defense office, not the bases thought this to the president for the final decision yet decimates down? >> that's correct. >> your collaboration has been increased if you're concerned, but at that point you willbe having an opportunity to work with general dunford and commanders for a period of several months. >> that's correct.
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it will give me an opportunity to engage leadership on the ground, to get a clear understanding of the status centcom and also a giant status in terms of all of the elements that have gone into this, which is, as you know, typically a pretty tightly controlled process and rightfully so. >> thank you are a match. general rodriguez coming thank you also service. you are taking over region which is your newest unified command, one that is facing new challenges have four or five years ago were not relevant. i think it is appropriate and fitting your best city made by side as it happens have certain effects in your permit in certain effects throughout general austin's command. can you give us your sense now, you have a day-to-day basis when engaged in deliberate
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planning -- can you give us your sense of what the threat daughter and africom and how well-positioned afrcom is. >> the press and africom reliever bob rudd three major areas, one being al qaeda and the islamic mockery of, which is where the french operations and the united states is ongoing. also al-shabaab in somalia a book for her rom and also the ally ray has discussed earlier here. visit the major threats to stability militarily, but of course they have significant other wants and government as well as health issues. >> i think you've touched on something that again is a critical issue that cuts across government capacity to provide basic service, the ability of governments to function is not as, at least to respond to the
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true nature of the people. one of the issues we talked about is that we have had military training operations that have gone in over the last several years into african countries with mixed results. do you have any specific st of ideas about how you would improve the military training teams that will be a major aspect of your operational capacity? >> yes, sir. if confirmed to look at that very, very hard. general ham has dated some of the training has been focused on tactical and technical and some of the things we do not emphasize with the values of the army as well as the role of the military democracy. those are some of the things he started work on an alleged that very carefully if confirmed in assessment and go forward in the best way possible. >> my time is expired, but there's very few people who
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served the army nation with your courage and distinction and your dedication to the soldiers. for that, thank you. >> sent under fisher. >> thank you, senator king. i thank you for your service to this country and i would also like to thank you and the service people you represent and their families for their service to this country as well. if i may, i would like to continue in the "washington post" article that came out recently. it did suggest the pentagon is pushing the pentagon that would only keep 8000 troops in afghanistan. i know that general austin, you weren't a part of the process so far, but can you support a plan that was scheduled withdraws troops in advance? you know, we're looking at withdraws troops in afghanistan and according to thisarticle
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from a passing down to 1000 within a short period of time, i ve questions if we can even maintain our mission, let alone complete the mission. how can you make decisions on troop withdraw when sec previously, so much depends on the ground, what the government is doing, what variability eyes up to that point. how would you approach a proposal like that? >> i certainly would first really work hard to make sure i fully understood with the leadership wanted to get done moving into the future. certainly my advice is the commander on the ground or commander central command would ovide my advice based upon breaking the security forces are
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and the conditions in theater and what i think we need to do to move forward to make sure we maintain the gains that we've achieved. but i think so much is tied to what it is, what policy objectives the leadership wants to ccomplish and based upon that, you know, i've outlined the forces required. i would consider the fact that there is a nato complement to whatever forces are going to have and again it really depends on what level were advising and assisting the security forces and how long we need access to do that. so as i'm concerned, those are things that i will work with general dunford on, look at very
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closely early on. and i know leadership is still in the process of making decisions on what is going to look like post-2014. >> do you think it is useful to put those numbers out there so far in advance? is very military reason it's useful to put those numbers out there? >> i don't know. i do know we are part of a coalition effort and i do know that the coalition really is trying -- members of the coalition are trying to determine but their commitme is going to be going forward and they would like as much predictability a possible. >> i appreciated senator reed's question that he ked general rodriguez. how would you priorit,

Road to the White House
CSPAN February 18, 2013 12:30am-2:00am EST

Series/Special. The candidates, issues and events shaping the presidential race.

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 18, Iraq 13, Us 12, Pakistan 12, Rodriquez 12, Centcom 11, Austin 10, Syria 8, Rodriguez 6, United States 5, Charlene 5, Africa 4, Iran 4, Wales 4, Benghazi 4, Kaine 3, Assad 3, Ayotte 3, Mccain 3, Jenny 3
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